Choosing my next read: Trying out first chapters!

Hi all!

When it comes to choosing what book to read next, I’m hopeless. I’m sort-of a mood reader, sort-of not, and I usually have a hard time figuring out what to read once I’ve finished a book. And then that leads to me not reading anything for at least a week and I hate that feeling!

So I thought I’d try out the first chapters of a bunch of books that I’ve had on my TBR for a while / books I really want to read! This isn’t an original idea; I’ve seen many bloggers do this in the past, but I can’t find the original poster! If you know, please link me!

I’ve chosen books on my read-immediately shelf on Goodreads, a shelf featuring all the books I want to read as soon as possible (lmao, you just know I haven’t taken a book off of this shelf in ages).

Here we go!

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The Wicker King by K. Ancrum 

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What’s it about?

When August’s best friend begins showing signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, August is determined to help him. Jack’s visions take the form of a fantasy world ruled by  the Wicker King, and as Jack leads them on a quest to fulfil a prophecy in this world, August begins to question his reality.

Thoughts on the first chapter

I actually read five chapters of The Wicker King because each chapter is only a two to three pages long. So I ended up reading 15 pages and I am already invested in the characters.

In the first chapter, we have August and Jack breaking into a toy factory when they’re 13; in the second, they’re being arrested for arson at 17; and then the remaining chapters I read explained August and Jack’s complicated friendship. And I want to know more! Why did August and Jack set a building on fire? Why do they keep away from each other at school? How did they become friends if Jack is popular and August is poor and a drug dealer? I need to know!

A big bonus of this book is how short the chapters are: I could probably finish this book in one day and it would definitely help with my mini reading slump!

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Beartown by Fredrik Backman 

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What’s it about?

Beartown is a small unknown town that gets put on the map because of their junior ice hockey team, who are about to compete in the national semi-finals. The town’s entire hopes and dreams rests on the shoulders of a few high school boys, putting a lot of pressure on these kids. But, the semi-finals is the catalyst for a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatised and the town reeling.  

Thoughts on the first chapter

I read the first two chapters of Beartown because the first chapter was just a paragraph long, and oh boy, what an opener! It begins by telling the reader that this is the story of a teenager who went into the forest and murdered someone else, and how the town got there. It’s a powerful way to open a story and I’m already intrigued.

The second chapter talks a bit about the town, evoking such strong images of typical small-town life, I felt like I was in the book myself. I can’t be certain, but I think the book features third person omniscient narrator, which means the narrator knows all the thoughts, feelings and actions of all the characters. So far we only have two characters: Maya, the daughter of the town’s hockey coach, and Amat, a hockey player who’s already my son.

I’m really looking forward to seeing just what the hell happens in this book, because it’s already a wild ride.

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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What’s it about?

In a world where magic disappeared after the maji were killed, Zélie was orphaned and her people had their hope taken from them. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie has a chance to bring magic back, but has to outwit the country’s crown-prince who is determined to destroy magic for good.

Thoughts on the first chapter

Ooh, I quite liked this! It had a mini prologue before chapter one, which got me hooked. In the first chapter, we’re introduced to Zélie, who is training in front of the other female warriors with the chance to graduate and become a master. But then the King’s soldiers arrive and demand taxes. We also learn about the intriguing history of Orisha, which I’m excited to learn more of. It was a stronger book starter and I really, really like Zélie — she’s already so strong and I look forward to see more of her!

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Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

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What’s it about?

Seven years ago, a film crew sent to make a “mockumentary” of sea creatures in the Mariana Trench were lost a sea. Now a new crew has assembled, some of whom are looking to validate their life’s work, other’s seeking to hunt. But scientist Victoria Stewart is searching for her lost sister.

Thoughts on the first chapter

Ooh, this was creepy! I read the first two chapters because they weren’t that long and what I read made me excited to continue! We’ve learnt about the history of a film company and their fun “mockumentaries”, and we’re introduced to Tory, who’s sister was on the ship that was lost at sea. I don’t know what to feel about Tory so far, because it’s only been one chapter, but I didn’t feel much from her? Her chapter was more about her worry for her sister, but I’m keen to follow her story. I really liked the second chapter though: the relation of the last footage of the camera crew — and what they find. Sounds so fun and horrific too! Plus, I think I heard this was an f/f romance too?! So, extra points!

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Over and Over Again by Cole McCade

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What’s it about?

When Luca was five years old, he swore he would love Imre Claybourne forever. Years later, when Luca is shipped off to Imre’s goat farm in disgrace, his long-buried feelings come back … and a possible chance of reciprocation. The problem? Imre is more than twice Luca’s age. And best friend’s with Luca’s father.

Thoughts on the first chapter

So I read the first two chapters to get a feel for both Imre and Luca’s perspectives, and I quite like the book but nothing’s grabbed me yet. Of course, it’s just two chapters but I feel like the fact that this book (the paperback version) is over 700 pages long is probably not helping. I did really like Luca and Imre as characters: Luca seems really wild and angry at the world, while Imre is wise and chill, and I definitely will be reading this at one point.

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The Awakening of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

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What’s it about?

In a world with alternate universes, a girl named Ren Crown hunts for an elixir for death. Ren attends an elite magical institution, with engineers, tacticians and warriors, but there’s something off about her magic … and the wrong people have started to notice.

Thoughts on the first chapter

Well, that was a … confusing mess. I don’t really know what to take from that first chapter, but nothing really made sense. I get that this is sort-of steampunk fantasy and when a ‘human’ MC is first introduced to a magical world, they’re not going to understand it, but I didn’t get anything. Ren and her twin brother are out making a promposal for a girl Christian likes, then he randomly gets magic, they’re attacked, Christian transfers the magic to Ren, and Christian dies, and Ren is talking about how handsome one of his killers is?? Is that what happened?

I don’t know. A lot of my friends love this book and it has a 4.15 star rating on Goodreads, so maybe I shouldn’t judge the book by the first chapter too much? There’s also five books in the series, all of which have more than 4 star ratings on Goodreads. Hmm, I may read this, but it’s not as high up on my TBR as it once was.

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Circe by Madeline Miller 

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What’s it about?

Rejected by her family, Circe turns to mortals for companionship and discovers a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft. Banished to a remote island by Zeus, Circe hones her magical skills. Over the years, Circe receives many visitors: Hermes, Daedalus, Jason, and Odysseus. But the ancient world is dangerous for an independent and solitary woman.

Thoughts on the first chapter

Oh, I loved the first chapter of Circe! It was magical and lyrical and just beautiful — which is all of Madeline Miller’s works, let’s be honest. In this chapter, Circe talks about her birth and a bit of her childhood, growing up with her horrible siblings, disaffected father — the sun god Helios — and uncaring mother — the nymph, Perse. Not much happened: Circe was born, she spends her days in her father’s palace, and went to visit his sacred cows. But even so, I really enjoyed this and I have a feeling I’m going to love the rest of the novel.

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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black 

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What’s it about?

Hazel and her brother Ben live in a strange town, where humans and fae exist side by side. The faerie’s magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be. At the centre of it all. is a glass coffin in the woods, where a boy with horns on his head lies sleeping. Both Hazel and Ben were in love with him as children. And now, he’s waking up.

Thoughts on the first chapter

Ooh, I really liked this! Hazel was great, I’m already relating to her. She’s kind of in a rut in life, maybe a bit depressed (?), and she spends a lot of her time making out with random guys. The first chapter was just her at a high school party, but we also get some background into the town and how the humans live with the fae — and how there’s been a boy in a coffin for centuries. I’m really excited to see where this book goes!

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So, what book do I want to read?

Wow, what a question, because I feel like I want to read 7 of the 8 I tried out.

This probably wasn’t the best exercise, but I really enjoyed doing it. Also, I just realised that, combined, I read 15 chapters — which is probably like 40-50% of a novel in itself, but oh well. This was pretty awesome!

Anyway. Because of this *experiment*, I’m going to read …

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum!

And, in an unexpected twist

Circe by Madeline Miller!

That’s right, I’m going to read two books at the same time! This never works out well for me, but we shall see how it goes.

I feel like I could blow through The Wicker King really quickly: the chapters are pretty short, and I’ve got a feeling I’m going to enjoy this book as I know a lot of blogging friends have loved it! And I just really got a great feel from Circe. It will take me a while to read (just like The Song of Achilles took me a little while), not because of the length or anything, just the content, but it will be worth it.

Wish me luck!

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If you’re stuck on what you should read next, try out this formula! Pick a good number of books that you’ve wanted to read for a while, read the first chapter of each, and then choose! If you decide to do this, please let me know and/or link me to your blog post!

Happy reading ❤️

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7 thoughts on “Choosing my next read: Trying out first chapters!

  1. City of Novels says:

    I’m so happy you chose The Wicker King! As soon as I saw it I gasped and whispered, “choose that one”. I loved it, it was an emotional rollercoaster. Also, I’ve never heard of Into the Drowning Deep until right now and it sounds really interesting. I feel like I haven’t read a good creepy book in a while!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      Hahah my experiment kind of failed didn’t it? I want to read all of them!!

      I just finished Circe and it was amazing! So powerful, and Miller is an incredible writer. I want her to keep rewriting more Greek myths forever

      Like

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